Oh what a night – Mid November back in ’23 to paraphrase the Four Seasons.
I thought our Awards night merited a special edition Newsletter. It is largely dominated by a section of magnificent photos courtesy of Max Ross. I owe a huge debt of thanks to Max for these photos. There are lots more photos to be seen. Many of the seniors’ will have seen them on Facebook and Carolyne will be sending a link to the full collection of photos to parents of juniors and older juniors via a closed membership circulation list.
I thought it was a truly magnificent evening but it was a shame that some Awards winners’ were unable to attend for a variety of reasons.
I do plan to try and send out a standard newsletter later in the week highlighting other events that took place over the weekend.
No words necessary really. Dexter Sharpe sums the night up perfectly
There were a lot of Awards.
It was a wonderful night for Paula Williams. Here she is collecting the Senior Athlete of the year Award – Female from the Mayor Kate Rolfe.
I was truly honoured to be asked to present Paula with an Outstanding Achievement Award. This was only the second time in the club’s history that such an award has been made. The only other recipient is a certain Mr Andrew Pozzi
Outstanding Achievement Award.
Below is an explanation of exactly why Paula received this prestigious Award. The article has been submitted to the local press, who hopefully will publish it
Stratford upon Avon Athletic Club held its Awards Presentation evening at Stratford School last Saturday. The main hall was packed to capacity with some 300 in attendance. Also in attendance was the Mayor of Stratford and her consort who was on hand to present some of the evening’s awards.
For one particular club member it proved to be a very special night indeed. The club decided for only the second time in its history to make an Outstanding Achievement Award.
The only previous recipient of this prestigious award being Andrew Pozzi, the club’s three time Olympian.
The accolade went to Paula Williams.
While many people in the audience were aware that Paula was a special athlete, few realised just how special she is.
Paula is a Vet or Masters athlete, a category you reach in athletics when aged 35 or above.
She came late to athletics, not competing in Masters events until 2013. As such she is deemed to have what is known as a low training age, ie not many miles on the clock and on Saturday she acknowledged that this could, to some extent, explain her current achievements.
Paula came to athletics almost by accident. All 4 of her children having been members of the athletic club, she was well aware of its existence. She was spotted in a local gym by a former club member who suggested she come along to some Stratford Vets training sessions.
Williams then competed for the Vets just 10 years ago and the rest really is history.
In the current World rankings for her age category she occupies 6 top 10 indoor or outdoor rankings, She is ranked 2nd in the world for her age in both the 80 metre hurdles and shot put. In the shot put she is a mere 13 centimetres off a world number one ranking.
In the UK rankings Williams has no fewer than 12 top 6 indoor or outdoor rankings. She is the number one ranked athlete for her age in 60 metre hurdles, 80 metre hurdles, javelin and shot put. She also has 5 top 5 all-time rankings and is number one on the all-time list for shot put.
While not active in athletics until fairly late in life Paula has always been athletic, playing netball from age 9 up to county level. She also enjoys other sports, often playing tennis and also, until recently, teaching PE at a local school and this must have helped her development as an athlete.
Her commitment to continually improving extends to regular strength and conditioning sessions at the gym, pilates, training at the Stratford School track at least a couple of times a week and travelling down to Crystal Palace for specialist one to one coaching.
As well as her high rankings in both the World and UK, this year has aslo seen her enjoy considerable success in two major international meets. In March she competed in the World Masters Championships in Poland, returning with full set of medals, winning gold in the javelin, silver in 60m hurdles and bronze in the shot put, she then travelled to Italy in late September to compete in the European Masters Championships, once again returning with a full set of medals, this time gold in the shot put, silver in 80m hurdles and bronze in the javelin. She also picked up an additional bronze, having run the anchor leg of the 4x100m relay.
Despite her global success, Paula is always prepared to don the yellow and black vest and compete for our T&F teams, be that in Stoke on Trent, Stourport or here in Stratford. The consummate club member.
A truly magnificent year and a year that fully justifies her Outstanding Achievement Award at Saturday’s presentation.
Tilly Campbell – Junior Club Person of the Year
Otis Tustin – Junior Athlete of the Year – Male
Catherine Reynolds – Junior Athlete of the Year – Female
Ned Campbell receives his Senior Athlete of the Year Award – Male from the Mayor.
Josh Harrison – TS3 Junior Triathlete of the year
An emotional Hannah Osborne collects the Senior Personality of the year Award from John Turner
Without who – Paul Bearman and Carolyne Johnston who moved mountains to make the awards happen. Thank you both.
AND THE WINNERS WERE
A full list of this year’s Awards Winners
It really was a very special night
Carolyne Johnstone seen here threading ribbon through medals. Carolyne and Paul spent 3 hours on Friday threading them through some 400 medals, ending the day suffering from that well know ailment – Lanyard Thumb.
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